A Model for Integrating Human Computation into Commercial Video Games

2018 IEEE 6th International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH)

Minecraft Dragon

Human Computing (HC) is a successful approach to crowdsourcing scientific research. Despite its success, many HC projects struggle to expand their user base and create sustained user engagement. In contrast, the commercial video game industry overall is very successful at encouraging users to spend significant time and resources to play over extended stretches of time, using techniques such as gameplay loops to engage players on many levels. When integrating scientific research into a video game, ideally the HC activities fit naturally within the gameplay loops and overall game themes, which game developers are best suited to accomplish. The authors propose a new HC to Video Games (HCtVG) model and associated framework, which provides a common means to connect HC research and video game developers. The HCtVG model comprises two major phases: Deconstruction and Analysis (DA) done by the researchers, and Game Integration (GI) completed by the game developers. During the DA, researchers deconstruct their research into a 5-Step Analysis Structure (5SAS) consisting of Suggest, Validate, Process, Select, and Exit steps. The 5SAS allows game developers to perform the GI phase, using the guidelines provided to integrate the HC activity into the gameplay and theme. This structure allows scientists to focus on their domain expertise while leveraging the skills of the game development community to design their video game integration. To demonstrate the HCtVG model, the authors apply the DA phase to an HC project seeking the discovery of chemotherapeutic co-medication properties for multi-drug resistant cancer research, and use the GI phase to design and integrate the HC activity into the popular game Minecraft.